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Dear VJ Live & RFP Family,

Welcome to VJ Live and the Radical Freedom Program! Some of you may be participating in both, but whatever the case, I would like to be the first to tell you how grateful we are that you're here with us. You have discovered a community that prides itself on being a judgment-free zone where each individual is accepted for who they are, appreciated for the gift of their presence, respected for sharing their experience, and loved without condition. As you prepare to integrate with other members, our support groups, classes, and workshops, I'd like to share something of myself with you. The feeling tone you will encounter here begins with my story. You may find pieces of it to be much like your own. I invite you to read and hear what I have to say with your heart. 

As of the date of this writing, April 8th, 2024, I've spent 57 years on the earth. In that time, I've lived what has felt like a lot. During the first two-thirds or more of that living, I spent a considerable amount of energy and focus judging experiences as either good or bad and framing life events within the context of this-or-that thing happening "to me!" But in the last couple of decades, a dramatic shift within the deepest parts of my being transpired, and nothing has been or ever will be the same again. I'll start at the beginning rather than the end for more clarity.

What my purpose for being born would be, who I would become, and even the foundations of my thinking and core beliefs were all collectively determined for me years before my mother would meet my father for the first time. She had carried a clear vision of her own life's purpose since childhood. That purpose was me, and the "idea of me" had been precisely settled in her mind from her youth. Since doll-playing days, she had envisioned raising a perfect Christian boy to become a perfect Christian man and minister in the church. My training began in utero. Her expectancy ran deep into multiple generations, and neither she nor my father had reservations about those expectations. They were what was to be. She knew it and was manifesting her certainty. Mother shared these things with me in storied form when I was a small child, from the time of my earliest memories. They were a source of pride to her.

As a very young child, when I actively pursued her dream of "me," there was lavish praise—all was good and right with the world. When I became less than a demonstration of her grandiose idea, the atmosphere chilled with disappointed expressions. It didn't take long to realize that I would never reach the bar that had been set for me, and I was surely destined to become a spectacular disappointment to all, and so I did. 


My story is for those of you who may have also felt that you weren't good enough for something or someone. I understand how that feels. I've lived it, and because of it, compassion rises in me. I know what comes later down the road due to carrying this feeling around, and there is no judgment. I get it. I find love in my heart for those who got a start in life believing that they would never be worthy of love or deserve to be loved for who they are without the need to fix something or please someone else.

I also know what it is to eventually become shunned by one's family for irreconcilable differences of belief or a simple lack thereof. My family members have been deeply fundamental in their religious faith for generations. As I grew into a teen, actively studying for the clergy, an inability to accept their faith as my own began to grow, along with unanswerable questions. My abysmal lack of faith meant to them that I was a threat. I was not equipped to grasp the idea of the threat I posed or find a remedy for it. Thus, as the years passed, ex-communication became a way of life; in time, all but my mother and father separated themselves from me, and I separated myself from them. 


So, if you are someone who has felt cast aside, disowned, or thrown away by people you've loved and depended upon for the comfort of connection, know that I have also known that kind of pain and stepped deeply into the illusion of separation—even spelling and pronouncing my name differently at one point so I would not be questioned by people on the street regarding my well-known family. Experiences like these leave a mark inside—a stain until it is cleansed and releasedI lived decades without the connections I perceived others around me to enjoy. 


For years, I felt the sting of total separation, aloneness, and alienation within the innermost depths of being. For this reason, there is an inviolable love within me for others facing those feelings. As mentioned above, I know the darkness where emotional pain and traumas like these often lead. I once knew the pains of these same storms, and I know what it is to weather their aftermath in every conscious moment. There is simply no judgment reflex in me toward the shadowy life experiences of others—they have also visited my life.

Regardless of how improbable notions of success eventually became, I never gave up on aspiring to be someone or something Mother would be proud of, but I could not play the part she had cast me for—the role of a preacher of her personal beliefs; I began to seek a substitute source of pride and accomplishment. In my search, I discovered a remarkable talent for developing ideas into successful businesses. So, I applied my energies to that talent in anticipation of gaining approval from the one person who held the keys to my self-esteem, but it never came in a way that filled the void within. There was always an overarching sense that, although I had succeeded, I had failed.


When measured by any other social standard, I "had it all," but when looking into my mother's eyes, I had "lost my soul." There was no questioning the meaning of her otherwise unexplained sadness. So, I began the process of quieting the deafening silence with alcohol, a variety of narcotics, and a lifestyle filled with excesses of hedonism. There is no value in listing them here. 

To whatever depth of learning your journey may have taken you or may still be taking you, I'm well acquainted with the emotional and spiritual costs of the trip. I fully understand what it is to look around and wonder, "How did I get to a place like this? What happened to me?" I also know what it feels like to think, "There's no way to get back home from this hell." I know the overwhelm that accompanies paralyzing fear, and I'm here to tell you that no matter how far down a rabbit hole you may have taken the crazy train, you are loved right now, you are understood, and there is no judgment. My life has prepared me for this time, this place, and you.

So many people I meet tell me right up front, "Dwayne, you just don't know what I've done, where I've been, how I've failed, who I've failed, or what other people say or have said about me. I've messed everything up over the years." You may be correct; I may not know these details of your life, but the elements of your circumstances do not determine the content of your potential. The past does not define you or dictate your present reality. You are so much more than however many mis-takes you may be recording as if they were the measure of your value. They are not you—not here, not now, not anymore! 


Your story is welcome here but optional. What you have experienced is valuable but must never become the boundaries of your dreams. I know how difficult it can be to imagine that anyone will ever hear you without labeling you, really see you without judging you, and love you completely without demanding something of you—something you don't have to give. I know that feeling, and I was wrong when I believed it. If you believe it, you, too, are mistaken, and our VJ Live & RFP community stands as evidence of that fact.

I write this letter today and have worked to develop these programs over the last 15 years because I know what it is to lose everything: family, friends, economic wealth, personal freedom, and human dignity. I understand the sting of failing in the most important responsibilities as a father and husband, and I know the mind-bending surprise of blindside slander and defamation by those who know the least about the realities of my personal life. I've also felt the reproach that can come from society, even years after false stories are spread, through uninformed social circles and commercially driven news cycles in ragtag papers that care little for the lives of those they may affect with untruths and half-truths. I know about "baggage" and how the world often takes strange entertainment from negatively charged drama until the script is flipped on them. I have personally lived with these experiences, and my heart beats for others who may taste the bitterness of the same cup.

I would like all who read these lines to understand that, aside from the power to push us toward positive evolutionary change, the errors of time now behind us are not significant components of our individual stories. There will always be those who feed upon decay, search for treasure under tombstones, and share, with great enthusiasm, what they may have found in the graves of our past—bones upon which we have grown into who we are today. I've shared my valley of shadows with you for a much higher purpose, and I now point to the underlying message worthy of processing. 


Let us call our attention to a path leading to freedom—to the epic journey that binds us together and to an abundant life beyond the death of that which separates us from liberty! The mission ahead is to inspire all who come our way to seize the riches of hope, the fortunes of a new and expanded vision, the radical freedom to live as desired, and to reveal more good than we dared dream of before! May our thoughts and meditations be fixed upon the possibility of inner peace and joy that springs up beyond the trauma, pain, fear, addiction, PTSD, depression, or whatever negativity may have attached itself to our thoughts and core beliefs along the way.


I know it is within each of us to possess these elevated states of consciousness because I've walked the valley of the shadow of death and discovered a way out—a way back home! On this incredible journey, I found something pure and true—the presence of love, abundance, purpose, and the absence of fear. It had been waiting there, filling the intricate fibers of empty space—surrounding me always. In that emptiness were gifts that I'd not expected until it occurred to me to look for them in a new way. Once again, I rediscovered my most treasured companions—Mindy and our children. They were still present at my side, as they always had been, despite the time spent in self-imposed blindness and imagined desertion. 


Other beings of light, such as the Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith and Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, unexpectedly allied with me as supporters and mentors. They became bearers of the hope preparing to come into form through me, and I owe them both a gratitude never to be forgotten. These men of vision looked at my world and saw only the good being born even though I had arrived at a perceived low point of existence. They told me nothing was impossible; I began to believe it and see it! Today, I view Rev. Beckwith, Dr. Lipton, my wife, our children, and others who were gateways of encouragement and motivation as examples of what I most desire to be—a conveyor of hope and a source of love in the world for those who seek to find a way back home to themselves and the path forward toward their greatest-yet-to-be!

As I write to you, the most transforming understandings I've encountered on the journey leap from the pages of life and become obvious: separation is a mere toxic illusion; connection to the all and the freedom to think, speak, and live as we desire are attainable, they are inherent rights, we are each born with these rights, and they are an inevitable conclusion when sought with an open heart and a willingness to practice them to mastery. I desire to share what I've learned with all who are ready and eager to take that first resolute step forward into a novel encounter with self-determination. Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for reading my letter of hope. Something transforming, bright, and beautiful is just ahead—here comes the sun again. Begin to expect it now if you like. Something good is trying to happen! Can you feel it?

Peace, Love & Freedom,

Dwayne V.

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